UK – Pensions are at the top of a list of information sought by retail tycoon Philip Green as part of his nine billion-pound (13.5 billion-euro) takeover bid for Marks & Spencer.
Green’s proposal seeks information on four areas of M&S’s activities – with pensions in top spot.
It seeks “confirmation that, following the recent issuance of the 400 million-pound bond, the M&S pension schemes are now fully funded (or, if not, by how much and on what basis) and details of the current and future annual cash contributions being made thereto by M&S”.
M&S issued bonds in March to fund a 400 million-pound (600 million-euro) injection into its 2.6 billion-pound UK defined benefit pension scheme.
Other areas about which the billionaire Green seeks information include capital expenditure, trading data and the terms of the firm’s contract with designer George Davies.
Green said his Revival group is “willing to give to the board of M&S the assurances that are customary in an offer for a UK public company regarding the safeguarding of the existing employment and pension rights of the employees of M&S”.
In response, M&S said: "The board considers that the proposal significantly undervalues the Group and its prospects and therefore
rejects the proposal."
Earlier this week, M&S named a new management team to counter Green’s bid. It also named former Gartmore chairman Paul Myners as interim chairman, on a fee of 50,000 pounds.